above this number (44,000) must be evacuated immediately to Iran,
An order which was a definite infringement of the Sikorski-Stalin Agree-
ment which had provided for an Army of 96,000 men on Soviet soil.
The evacuation was carried out during the last days of March and the
beginning of April, 1942, from the port Krasnowodsk on the Caspian Sea to
Port Pahlevi (formerly known as Enzeli) in Persia. A total of 31,030
soldiers and 1,159 P.S~.K, (A.T.S. girls), 1,880 boys, 3,070 children and
7,689 adults, chiefly women, left Russia. The evacuation was directed
on the British behalf by Colonel Alex Ross. The evacuees were taken to
the outskirts of Teheran, and later the soldiers were sent to Iraq, while
most of the civilians went on to various parts of Africa and India.
By the spring of 1942, the problem of the Polish Army in Russia had
been entirely solved. The Kremlin had put a stop to the recruitment
and to the release of the Polish prisoners and exiles and it now began to
get rid of the Army itself. In view of these unfavourable developments.
General Sikorski sent a message on April 9th, 1942, to Stalin, in which he
emphasised the importance of increasing the strength of the Polish
fighting forces and appealed for the continuation of the recruitment and
the evacuation of the Polish citizens to the Middle East. As Great
Britain had agreed to take an unlimited number of Poles from the Soviet
Union, the Polish Government was anxious to extract from Russia and to
save the lives of as many of their people as possible.
The Kremlin remained indiferent to the pleas of Sikorski. The Polish
Government reverted to these matters on several occasions (the Notes
on May ist and June loth, to Bogomolov, the Russian Ambassador to
the Polish Government in London, and the Note of the Polish Ambassador
in Russia to Molotov on May 4th), but in every instance there was a
negative reply from the Soviet Government.
On May 13th Sikorski received an answer from Stalin to the effect that
he had already informed Anders why he was unable to hold the Polish
Army in Russia; that the reduction of its contingents was a result of the
fact that the Polish forces " were not in the front line." " Since the
conditions had not altered, no changes could be made in the circumstances
of the Polish contingents as established on March i8th, 1942." But those
conditions could only have altered if the Soviet authorities had supplied the
Polish Army with armaments. It rested entirely in the hands of the
Russians themselves. The nest day, on May I4th, Molotov, in his reply
to the Polish Ambassador, went to even further lengths. He stated :
" 1. In Premier Stalin's verbal agreement with General Anders of
March 18, the number of Polish soldiers was reduced to 44,000; the entire
surplus was in due course evacuated, and therefore the evacuation must be
considered as final.
" 2. Further recruitment and voluntary enlistment for evacuation to
the Middle East are impossible, for the very reason that the total number
of the Polish Anny was fixed at 44,000 men.
" 3. The Soviet Qqvernment consider it purposeless to continue